This year 2011, is going to go into my memory book as the Year of the Snow..but, I keep hearing this buzz around me..saying “Year of the Rabbit”!!. I would like to defend my stand.
Just into February, and we’ve already had snow more than any year I’ve seen in the past. I haven’t seen the color of the grass. The earth has appeared white since Dec 26th of last year when the first snow storm hit us. Feb and March are supposed to be the peak season, and, we are just stepping into now! It feels like we’ve already been in it for more than a month now.
To most people, its very inconvenient..and distressing. This is perceivable. Its not like they are have a choice of sitting at a window with a cup of coffee and watch the snow, as it falls, so silently, in slow motion, so unlike a hard rain, …making the atmosphere look so beautiful, so picturesque, almost heaven like, like its trying to decorate the earth, the spruces and the cypress, the pines and fir, the houses, the roads, the woods..like one would use confetti on a cake, making everything look so clean and white and bright, (although sometimes, the migraines caused by this glare from the snow..is unbearable!! ).
Then the plow trucks come and push the snow to the side..along with it, they push the dirt from the ground that makes the snow look dirty. They make sure to push all the snow from the roads into peoples driveways, so that people have something extra to crib about. ( Maybe, the township has taken the burden of making people workout more, during snowy days…lest they put on winter fat! ).
The geese and the deer come along and pour all their dropping, like there was a dearth of poop everywhere, that the earth was being starved of Geese poop. Like that was the only way to color the earth..other than white! It also makes me wonder, now that, all the grass is covered with hard ICE and there isn’t anything much these pesky creatures are able to eat..where do they make all that poop from. Imagine all that bio gas…Go Green! :-)
Coming back to the people who find these snowy days hassling. Its really difficult to be in their shoes. This working/commuting crowd are unsure..that, if they really take this adventurous drive, how the road conditions will greet them, as they get out of their neighborhood.
Its impossible to get traffic updates, covering each road that one commutes. On the other hand, the municipalities sometimes finds it wieldy, if people stay off roads, Its easy to clear roads this way. Suppose these enthusiasts, did reach work..will they be able to make it back home?
Like hubby dear, who decided that he needed to be at work on the day the ice storm was happening. He dauntlessly drove to the train station. The transit on its part..din’t want to disappoint these fearless hearts. It kept ..showing them hope that, the train would be there..in 10 mins...
After another 20 mins, it assured these cold feet..the train is surely going to be there in the next 20mins. After another half hour, it started blaring the signal horns..letting the waiting crowd know, that the train is approaching. Inspite of the frozen lips, (Have you tried talking outside in cold conditions and how did you find your lips? Do they move normally??) they went to the platform in that freezing ice storm..hoping to see those lights approaching but, couldn’t find any train coming closer, for 10 whole minutes.
Luckily, Hubby dear decided to set that nearly frozen part..into action. He started to think and came to a decision that it was time to get back home. There was no way that he will be able to make it to work on this day. He came home to a frozen driveway also known as black ice and somehow got his car to traverse the length of the driveway into the garage without bumping the car into any walls! YEY!! we all screamed silently. We were hiding in our spots, as he opened the door, so he will find us :-)
All this said..its because of dear Hubby..that its possible for me to be able to sit with a cup of coffee and admire the snow fall as it happens. Its because he toils hard, we can think of making a snow man on such days rather than think about clearing the snow from the driveway.
Coming back to reality..! Coming back to the working/commuting crowd making their way back home to find that huge piles of snow waiting on their driveway to clear up if they do manage to return in the evening, that is!
Another inconvenience, that homes with both parents working face, is, when the schools declare a holiday, or an early dismissal or delayed opening..they have to worry about arranging for child care or arrange for staying back home.
On their part, schools are unsure if they need to declare the day, a holiday or a delayed opening…or just stay open! The other day, it was the case of heavy sleet (a very dangerous condition) with rain and snow together. This condition creates slippery roads and walkways. They had a delayed start. This morning, it was the case of heavy snow fall. They had a delayed start. Last week’s was an ice storm. The schools were closed.
The schools have a limited number of snow holidays to declare in a year. If they cross that, they work extra days in June to make up for the lost days during snow time. (That means, summer vacations are delayed and/or spring break is cut short.)
The days of delayed start, is a big bother for the kids, too! (Can’t stop complaining, right? ) The buses tend to come late due to the road conditions, to play it extra safe..And sometimes, they are on time, so, the kids have to be sent outside, well in advance regardless so, they won’t end up running on the sleet to reach the bus. This makes them stay in the sleet longer, getting them wet and cold..in spite of their layers of clothing. The walkways are narrowed down due to the snow.
As much as we clear the snow from the walkways, the wind, Mr Vayu, puts the snow back so effortlessly, without even needing to turn his pinky. In the nights, this freezes and cause slippery conditions for the kids, the next morning, who are running to their buses. Salt is of little help because there’s so . much snow that is swept off. Sometimes, the bus doesn’t stop at the spot, that had been dug out from the walkway to the road..then, the kids try to cross the snow to get to the bus..Like, these kids need any extra push to do such things. (As I watch from the window, I see them already digging their hands and legs into the snow piles..trying to see how hard its frozen!)
One day, K’s feet got stuck in the snow, as she tried to cross over to reach the buss, and when she pulled on it..her shoe was left inside the snow and her feet out..she had to tread on it to get her shoe out. She got onto the bus to wear it. A wet feet in snow is not an easy thing to deal with.
All is not bad for everybody, when it snows heavy. There are a few people who thrive in lots of snow. The lawn mowers! This lets them earn extra, clearing people’s driveways of snow. They usually don’t have work during the winter months. So, such conditions are good for them, and, for people who hire them..its creates a big hole in the pocket :-(
Snow is a costly affair! If we don’t clear the walkways on time..we get tickets from the police. People from the community have had to take off days from work, to go to court and fight their case and the penalties are hefty, either they had been on vacation or the mail man who complained had been very unreasonable!!
How about people who clear their walkways and driveways themselves! Through sheer hard manual labour! Trust me, this is real hard labour. Especially, for your back. Its not for the weak spines or weak hearted.
For such people, its a great workout..that is, if you love to clear snow :-) It easily takes much more than 400 calories on an average for a 150 pound person to shovel for less than an hour. That’s a good number. The other day at the gym, I had set the elliptical to a resistance of 23 and a stride rate of more than 200+ ( I think!!), and I was able to burn me..about 500 calories in 40 mins and but, it was a grueling workout. So, considering this, I think shoveling is a good option. Most times, when Pavan completes clearing the driveway…he comes in, his T-shirt completely wet with sweat. It feels great to come inside to a hot cup of coffee after shoveling snow. Can you feel that warmth as I hand the mug of coffee into his hands?!
Can’t forget to mention the skiing trips that we’ve already made this year and some more waiting to happen. The kids were on the slopes for the first time, this year and they did so well. By the time we completed the previous trip, they’ve been crowned “The Bunny slope experts”. They are so eager to get on to the next level now.
Hubby and myself went up to the next level of the slopes to gauge if the kids would be able to do it. After the experience of the previous trip we think they must be ready for this in the next trip. I cannot forget to mention, that skiing or any winter activity is a very very very costly avocation. Shelling out those dollars for the equipment rentals and the costumes is very expensive but, once on the slopes, feels totally worth it.
Last week, was the ground hogs day. Its told that the ground hog wasn’t able to see its shadow this year! I’m sure it didn’t even come out of its hole because it was the day of the Ice Storm. All this just means to say that, spring is going to be here, soon! Approximately, another month and a half, maybe, and we can be singing..
“Spring is here , Spring is here, Its the best time of the year!”
A link to my album on snow!! Enjoy!